Japanese versionThe original Japanese version had the hero as a Tengu mask instead of a severed head.
RumorOne of the popular rumors regarding this game is that it resulted from a translation error between Japanese and Americans regarding the term "great head of the samurai" (used to denote the leader of samurai), one side of the development team having taken the term literally.
Unfortunately, while it makes a good story, the rumor is false as this game was released originally involving a character who was konoha tengu, otherwise known as a severed head spirit. So the nature of this game was fully intended.
Information also contributed by WildKard